A fascinating blend of the Hindu and Muslim cultures, every frame of Hyderabad - the joint capital of Andhra Pradesh and Telangana, pulsates with vivid heritage. The metropolitan section of the city comprises of the hilltop Golconda, the modern city of Secunderabad and the old city of Hyderabad which are separated by an artificial lake - Hussain Sagar. On the western end lies the Hi-Tech city or the cyber hub of the city. One of the main attractions of the old Hyderabad city are its frantic bazaars swarming with chai and spice traders. This is a major contributing factor to Hyderabad’s tourism. Among the other places to visit in the city, the iconic Charminar built in 1591 to commemorate Hyderabad’s founding, the opulent Chowmahalla palace and one of the world’s largest mosques - the Mecca Masjid are the most popular. The art enthusiasts could head to the Kalakriti and Birla art galleries. As one of the must-dos in the city, plan a day trip to the Ramoji Film City (Telangana’s film industry - Tollywood). Also, no trip to Hyderabad city will ever be complete without the delectable trifecta of Irani chai, Osmania biscuits and the quintessential biryani.
Hampi (Hampe) is a village and temple town recognised as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, listed as the Group of Monuments at Hampi in northern Karnataka, India. It is situated within the ruins of the city of Vijayanagara, the former capital of the Vijayanagara Empire. Predating the city of Vijayanagara, Hampi continues to be an important religious centre, housing the Virupaksha Temple and several other monuments belonging to the old city. Hampi is situated on the banks of the Tungabhadra River. It is 353 km from Bangalore. The extant monuments of Vijayanagara or Hampi can be divided into Religious, Civil & Military buildings. The Jain temples on Hemakuta hill, the two Devi shrines and some other structures in the Virupaksha temple complex predate the Vijayanagara Empire. Hampi tourism has special importance for the Hanuman devotees, as mythical Kishkinda, the monkey kingdom was located here. You can see plenty of motifs and carvings of Hanuman all around the sites of which some are brilliantly colourful.
Warangal is a land famous for its architectural feats. Though not really a tourist spot, the ancient city has multitudes of experiences to offer by way of its beautiful temples, wildlife sanctuary, a grand fort and a serene lake to satisfy the thirst of travellers. The most famous spot is the star-shaped, 800-year-old Thousand Pillared Temple with its uniquely carved stone pillars. Warangal is replete with temples such as the Ramappa temple, Sri Vidya Saraswathi Shani temple, Sri Veeranarayana temple, the most beautifully located being the Bhadrakali Temple. The exquisite carvings, arches and pillars of the Warangal fort are noteworthy along with its South Indian architectural style. The turquoise blue manmade lake of Pakhal amidst the lush greens forests is where you want to be for the most breathtaking sceneries. If you’re visiting during September or October, you may get to witness the vivid festival of flowers celebrated by the Hindu women, Bathukamma. You may not find the most opulent hotels, but there are decent ones to spend a night at, such as City Grand or Grand Gayathri. Try the local eateries for their lip-smacking ghee idlis and dosas.
Located in Andhra Pradesh, Kurnool is home to some of the most sacred temples of India, including the Shrine of Srisailam, Peta Anjaneyaswami and Birla Mandir. Kurnool being a developing city, you will find spots with construction going on in full swing. Belum Caves is one such attraction. Considered to be one of the longest caves in India, it is a great way to spend your day. The caves demand a lot of walking around, so do wear comfortable shoes when you head here. The oxygen here is a little low so don't take toddlers with you and also avoid if you are claustrophobic. Ugra stambham is another lovely sightseeing spot with great views. It's definitely worth a visit, though you should avoid going in the afternoon since it can get very hot.
Earlier the capital of the Chalukya Kingdom, Badami is located in the North Karnataka District and is a part of Bagalkot. This place is surrounded by beautiful hills and mainly known for the lovely cave temples. This is a group of four temples which are made of soft sandstone. Out of these three are dedicated to the Hindu religion while the one remaining is for the Jains. These are some of the perfect examples of Chalukyan Temple architecture. The evolving time and development can be well found in the ravines of this place and the designs made on the walls and ceilings of these temples make them soe of the best temples of South India.
On the border of Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka lies the saintly city of Mantralayam. The city revolves around the much prestigious saint, Shri Guru Raghavendra Swamy. Being a relatively small place and unpopular among tourists, it makes sense that most of the visitors here are his disciples. The Samadhi Temple or Brundavan is the site where Swamy is believed to have entered his tomb, alive. Inside the complex of the temple is the main shrine of the saint. Devotees still believe that he dwells in his holy form. Being the site of utmost devotion, it is very restricted in its approaches. Men who want to perform aarti are supposed to wear only dhotis and women only sarees. This dress code is strictly followed when you want to go near the Brundavan. Food or bhog is served to all devotees and visitors during the afternoon. In a place named Raichur, 20 km from Mantralayam, the temple of Panchamukha commemorates the place where Shri Guru Raghavendra meditated for 12 years at a stretch. Overall this place holds the aura of an earthly experience rather than serving as a vacation.